Welcome to author Heather Barnett who has dropped by the Tequila Mockingbird to give us the lowdown on one of her characters from her wonderful novel, Lord Seeks Wife. While we're waiting for your guests to arrive, Heather, can you tell us a little about your book?
Take 1,000 women, add one earl and whip into a media frenzy!
Reclusive academic Lord Noblet de Beeble doesn’t want to get married but his overbearing mother, Lady Caroline, is insisting he must. When he places an advert for a wife in the Situations Vacant section of his local newspaper, the national press pick up the story.
A desperate Noblet calls on his handsome younger brother, Henry, to help him navigate the subsequent media frenzy.
Among the hordes of hopeful candidates to descend on the village of Gently Rising is the beautiful and mysterious Mia Wild, who befriends local primary school teacher, Alice Brand.
Alice has been looking for something to spice up her life, but getting embroiled in a very public wife-hunt wasn’t what she had in mind.
In a summer packed with suspicious exes, snobbery, social climbers and sausage rolls, Gently Rising will bear witness to a public courtship like no other. But who will come out on top?
Who will you be inviting for a cocktail and why?
I’ll try to lure Lord Noblet de Beeble away from his academic studies to join me at the Tequila Mockingbird Cocktail Bar. He spends far too much time in his library at the Hall researching obscure facts about the novelist Wilkie Collins; it’ll do him good to get away.
What will they be wearing?
Whatever he stumbled into that morning: most likely a shirt with ink on the sleeves and his old green pullover. Unless his mother, Lady Caroline, has caught wind of the invitation and forced him into formalwear. In which case he’ll spend the evening plucking grumpily at his collar and complaining about the tightness of his shoes.
What will they order off the cocktail menu?
He’ll be halfway through a large gin and tonic before I even open the cocktail menu. His preferred spot for a G&T is on the terrace at the back of the Hall as the sun’s setting, chatting with his handsome younger brother, Henry. But if he’s been strong-armed into a cocktail bar, gin will get him through the ordeal.
How will they react if the waiter spills their cocktail over them?
If we’re engaged in one of his pet topics of conversation - Victorian literature or Lady Caroline’s loopiness – I doubt he’ll notice. He’ll pick up the empty glass, knock it back, get hit in the face by a slice of lemon, and carry on talking.
What can they tell you that will make you stay for a second drink?
He could reveal what he and Henry will be asking candidates when they interview for the role of Wife of Lord de Beeble. I could make good money selling that information to the many women currently camping out on Gently Rising’s village green ahead of the open day of interviews in the village hall.
Lord Seeks Wife by Heather Barnett (August, 2021, Serpentine Books) is available to buy here: https://amzn.to/32jONEM It will be available in paperback 3rd February, 2022
Her debut novel, Acts of Kindness, an uplifting mystery about the power of human kindness, is available here: https://amzn.to/3FHvDpT
You can follow Heather on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @WritesHeather or visit her website:
Heather Barnett gained a degree in English and French from the University of Leeds and has written
ever since: from copywriting to stand-up comedy and sketches. Her influences span Jane Austen and Douglas Adams at one end of the alphabet through to PG Wodehouse at the other.
Heather is head of marketing at an agency near Oxford and lives by the river Kennet in Berkshire.